Alaska Walkabouts

The adventures of an Alaska Wildlife and Nature Photographer.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Aurora Chasing 2016 Round 1

This winter wasn't the best for aurora photography. Not in our area anyway. The farther north you go the better. The sun is a couple years past solar maximum now and the sun spots that spawn so many auroras are mostly gone. We are living off recurring coronal holes that come around the sun every 25 days or so. And a couple of them were good to us. I did not do a lot of shooting this year due to weather and other personal things going on but I did catch two stunning displays; one near Glenallen in late October and the other near Talkeetna at Thanksgiving. My friend and aurora guru Dave Parkhurst was there with me and Storm too of course.

For the first shoot we drove north to the town of Glenallen and stayed for 2 nights. Nearby is an overlook that has one of the nicest views in the state at least as far as the road system is concerned. The pullout there plunges about 1,000 feet down to the Copper River and looks east to the dormant volcanos,16,000 foot Mt. Sanford, 12,010 foot Mt. Drum, and 17,402 foot Mt. Wrangell in the Wrangell Saint-Elias National Park. It was a cold night at -12 F but the aurora put on a magical show. Here are some of the best shots from the first night:

Two meteorites streak above mounts Sanford, Drum, and Wrangell

Dave watches the moon rise behind Mt. Drum

Dave in his element

Dave and some incredible skies

The following day we drove all over the region looking for another good viewpoint. Surprisingly we failed. But we drove to the tiny community of Chitina, about 50 miles down the Copper River, which I had not been to for 30 years, so it was fun to do. The second night found us back at the Glenallen overlook where the aurora display continued. The following day we headed home. Here are some shots from near Chitina and from the second night back at Glenallen:

Storm and Dave